Former political leaders come again on the
Though Özal tried to trap them with an electoral fait accompli,
the Constitutional Court frustrated him in his plans
Political bans imposed in 1982 on
242 former political leaders have been lifted after the Turkish
electorate voted, on September 6, 1987, by a narrow margin in favour of
their return to public life, but Turkey, on the call by Prime Minister
Ozal, has immediately entered in the effervescence of a new voting,
this time that of an early election to be held on November 1st, 1987.
However, after the announcement
of the candidates, the Constitution Court frustrated Ozal in his fait
accompli by annuling the procedure of niminating candidates. So, Turkey
has entered in one of the gravest crises of her history.
Since this referendum was
considered as a kind of test for the popularity of the former political
leaders, the narrow vote has become a serious blow on their
aspirations. The electors, by lifting political bans with a narrow
margin, have made it clear that they, although against the
interdictions, have not yet forgotten the mismanagement of the former
prime ministers, Demirel and Ecevit, who sought a larger backing in
The results have not been
satisfactory for Ozal either. Last May the Turkish National Assembly
had voted, by a huge majority, to lift the bans. But the Prime Minister
dreamt up the idea of a referendum in the hope that the nation would
reverse the parliamentary decision and consign his rivals to permanent
oblivion. So, the referendum has degenerated into a bitter contest
between two men: Prime Minister, Turgut Ozal, and his arch-rival,
former Prime Minister Süley-man Demirel.
The referendum campaign was
mainly marked by opposition attacks on Mr. Ozal's economic
liberalisation programme which has recently forced up inflation to a
monthly rate of % 5.4. However, the population has not yet forgotten
the fact that the inflation during the governments of Demirel and
Ecevit was worse than today. In fact, according to the daily Hürriyet
of September 12, 1987, the monthly inflation rate was of 6.4 per
cent during the 22-month power of Ecevit and 8.5 per cent during the
10-month period of Demirel. For this reason, the attacks of the two
former prime ministers were easily refuted by Ozal.
But the Prime Minister's
strongest card was the undoubted mismanagement of the country by both
Demirel and Ecevit during the 1970s, when Turkey came close to civil
Consequently, 49,84 per
cent of the 23.3 million electorate who took part in the referendum
said "no" to a lifting of the bans, while only 50.16 per cent were
favouring it, with a difference of just 75,066 votes.
It is noteworthy that 1,658,809
electors did not go the polls despite the risk of a fine of $ 20 and
1,088,965 ballot papers were registered invalid.
What is more significant, though
the favourable votes have a slim majority, the number of the provinces
who voted against the former leaders is considerably high: While 27
provinces were voting in favour of the former leaders, 40 provinces
including the most important ones such as Istanbul and Ankara said
Considering these results, the
coming legislative election will no doubt be a decisive test for the
credibility of the former political leaders.
A narrow vote for lifting the
bans had already been predicted by public opinion polls during the
campaign. But the same polls had also indicated that Ozal's party would
win an election if it were held immediately.
Considering these predictions,
Ozal, just before the opening of ballot boxes, announced at a news
conference in Ankara that he intended to submit to Parliament draft
legislation that would enable him to hold elections within two months
instead of having to give three months' notice as required by the
present electoral law.
Since his ruling Motherland Party
(ANAP) has a parliamentary majority, he has not faced any difficulty in
making the changes. The Parliament has decided a few days later to hold
the early elections on November 1st, 1987 and made in this effect some
considerable changes in the Electoral Law.
According to political
commentators, Ozal has decided to hold legislative e-lections just
after the referendum for the following reasons:
- If the elections were held in
1988 as stipulated by the Constitution, the former political leaders
would have the time to get back their old electors who vote since 1983
for the ANAP.
- Since the last partial
elections the ANAP has regained some prestige thanks to the
amelioration of the relations with European governments and especially
to the introduction of the demand of full membership to the European
- However, the economic
previsions for the coming months are not optimistic. The IMF has
recently suggested to Ozal some drastical economic measures such as
increasing the prices of many consumer goods, reducing investments and
lowering the economic growth rate. Putting in practice these measures
before the legislative elections would be another negative effect on
his party's electoral chance.
The electoral maneuvers of Turgut
Ozal had already been revealed in Bulletin Info-Türk of June 1987.
Just after the decision for
holding early elections, denouncing Ozal's electoral maneuvers, the
principal opposition party, SHP, appealed to the Constitutional Court
for the annulment of the modifications of the Electoral Law for the
- While the Constitution
stipulates a 3-month interval between the date of decision on general
elections and the date of holding these elections, this provision has
not been respected.
- The nomination of the party
candidates by the party leadership, instead of a democratic election by
the party members, is not compatible with the Constitution.
- The electoral propaganda period
is limited to ten days while it was 21 days beforehand. Since the
government party is always using State radio and television its own
propaganda without any limitation, this restriction is aimed at
diminishing the electoral chance of the opposition parties.
- At least 1.8 million electors
cannot vote due to the impossibility of actualizing the electorate
lists until November 1st.
- The barrages for
election have been raised in such a manner that some political parties
will not be represented in the new National Assembly even if they
obtain rather high percentage of votes. For having their candidates
elected, political parties have to obtain at least 10 percent of the
votes throughout Turkey and 20 percent in the constituencies where more
than six deputies will be elected.
- The names of candidates are not
put on the voting bulletins and the electors are forced to vote only
for political parties without knowing whom they elect.
On this appeal, the
Constitutional Court, on October 9, judged the procedure of nominating
candidates unconstitutional, imperiling so the holding of the early
elections on November 1st.
Nevertheless, the four former
political leaders, without waiting for the Constitutional Court's
decision, have managed to place themselves at the head of the political
parties founded by their former supporters and to put themselves and
their companions at the top of the party tickets.
Bülent Ecevit, chairman of the
defunct Republican People's Party (CHP), leads now the Democratic Left
Süleyman Demirel, chairman of the
defunct Justice Party (AP), leads the Correct Way Party (DYP);
Alparslan Türkes, chairman of the
defunct Nationalist Action Party (MHP), leads the Nationalist Labour
N. Erbakan, chairman of the
defunct National Salvation Party (MSP), leads the Welfare Party (RP).
All of them are also running for
the National Assembly at the top of their party tickets.
However, different to the
pre-coup period marked by the quarrel among themselves, this time the
electoral race will be held among seven political parties of which
three are led by brand-new politicians: The Motherland Party (ANAP) of
Ozal, the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) of Inönü and a new
islamist organization: the Reformist Democracy Party (IDP).
The political parties of the
working class and the Kurdish people are once more are excluded from
participating in legal political life and legislative elections.
Although 242 former politicians, thanks to the referendum, have
regained their political rights, 82 out of them who were the leaders of
the Socialist Workers' Party of Turkey (TSIP), the Workers' Party of
Turkey (TIP) and the Workers'-Peasants' Party of Turkey (TIKP), are
still deprived of the right to participate in political life because of
their condemnation to heavy prison terms. There are also other marxist
or Kurdish parties which had already been outlawed before the coup
d'état and they remain still so. What is most deplorable, none of the
four former political leaders say anything on the right of the
socialist and Kurdish party leaders who cannot benefit from the results
of the re
While three right-wing leaders,
Demirel, Türkes and Erbakan, are forcing themselves to get back their
former electorate who voted in the 1983 legislative e-lections for
Ozal's ANAP, former social-democrat leader Bülent Ecevit uses the
remnants of the charisma that he had in the period of 1973-78 in order
to divide the social-democrat votes of the SHP and to draw a part of
them to the DSP that he leads.
Although just after the
referendum the SHP proposed to Ecevit to seek a formula for uniting the
forces of the two social-democrat parties and for struggling against
five right-wing parties as a sole left-wing alternative, Ecevit shocked
even his admirers by refusing any kind of electoral cooperation with
the SHP. With a view to destroying electoral chance of the SHP, Ecevit
has not hesitated to say that this party had been infiltrated by
ultra-left militants. For this reason, almost all of the former leading
members of the defunct CHP, led once by Ecevit, have refused to support
his new party, DSP, and joined the brand-new SHP.
Whatsoever will be the fate of
the coming elections, one should not hope too much for returning a real
democratic life in Turkey due to Ozal's electoral fait accompli which
crumbled into an electoral farce on the one hand, and Ecevit's attitude
dividing left-wing votes on the other.
AI REPORT ON TORTURE IN TURKEY
While torture was becoming an
issue for public dis
cussion in the Turkish opinion, Amnesty International has published in
September 1987 a new document on this inhuman practice in Turkey. We
are reproducing below some parts of the AI findings:
"Almost four years after a
civilian government came to power in November 1983, no effective
measures have been taken to prevent torture. The Turkish authorities
admitted that torture takes place, but have repeatedly claimed that it
is used only in isolated incidents. Despite the promise that all
complaints of torture are investigated and that those responsible for
torture will be prosecuted, AI has not observed any fundamental changes
in the systematic and widespread practice of torture.
"Although people have been
tortured in police stations and prisons of every type throughout
Turkey, there are also buildings specially equipped for torture.
"Most of these places are well
known. The US-based human rights group, Helsinki Watch Committee,
stated in March 1986: 'I was able to find to exact location of the main
torture centers in both cities. (Ankara and Istanbul). A government
determined to eliminate torture would investigate the treatment of
detainees in these centres and take the necessary steps.'
"One of the best known torture
centres is a place called DAL (Devlet Arastirma Laboratuvari) in Ankara
Police Headquarters. The detainees -students held between November 1986
and March 1987- indicate clearly a room where torture equipment is
housed and used. A former prisoner of conscience tortured there in 1981
has confirmed the accuracy of the sketch. The passage between Sections
A and B is reported to be very low so people have to bend down to walk
through. It can be closed off by an artificial wall camouflaged with
fire extinguishers to avoid unwanted entry. Except for the addition of
a "recreation room" used to treat injuries be
fore the prisoner's release or formal arrest by a court, nothing seems
to have changed since then.
"Another dimension of the problem
of torture and ill-treatment in Turkey is illustrated by the situation
in the southeast. Armed clashes between Kurdish guerrilla troops and
the Turkish security forces have led to more than 700 deaths in less
than three years since August 1984.
"AI received oral and written
testimonies of whole villages being rounded up by the security forces
and the Kurdish population being beaten by members of the gendarmerie
or army searching for guerrillas and their supporters. Four people are
alleged to have died as a result of torture between February and June
PROTEST ACTIONS BY AND FOR PRISONERS
4.8: In Istanbul, 14 out of the
19 people detained during the protest actions, are arrested by the
State Security Court. The Mutual Aid Association of the Parents of
Detainees and Prisoners (TAYAD) announces that the police had committed
crime by beating and dragging in its members during their
6.8, The Secretary General of the
Human Rights Association (IHD), Mr. Akin Birdal, accuses Justice
Minister Mahmut Oltan Sungurlu of being principal responsible of the
inhuman treatments in prisons. The latter, taking no heed of
complaints, says: "We cannot hand over the administration of prisons to
the prisoners' families. Even if we accept to put in practice all their
demands, I am sure that they will not put an end to their actions."
12.8, a group of parents restart
their hunger-strike by a demonstration in the Güven Park in Ankara for
protesting against the Justice Minister's intransigent attitude.
14.8, Justice Minister Sungurlu,
confirming that 233 prisoners were carrying on hunger-strike in five
prisons, announces that journalists will be allowed to visit all
prisons and calls on the strikers to put an end to their actions.
1.9, Hundreds of parents of
prisoner coming from different regions of the country gather together
in Ankara and organize a protest march towards the Grand National
Assembly. The demonstrators, including women and children, are brutally
halted and beaten up by police. During the dispute between two sides, a
50-year old woman, Didar Sensoy, sister of a prisoner condemned to
death, dies of a heart-attack. Police harass also 19 journalists
following the demonstration and destroy their cameras. 60 demonstrators
are taken into custody, but released after a 7-hour detention.
2.9, a group of parents of
prisoner as well as some distinguished writers and artists meet in
front of the Metris Military Prison in Istanbul and offer their
sympathy to Didar Sensoy's brother, Hasan Sensoy, condemned to death.
5.9, Didar Sensoy is buried in
Istanbul with a funeral procession attended by more than five thousand
people who, raising their fists, shout the following slogans: "Down
with Fascism", "Human dignity overcomes torture", "Release prisoners",
"Empty all prisons", "General amnesty".
PRESS REPORTS ON PRISONS
Under the pressure of the public
opinion, the Justice Ministry and the Army's General Staff had to open
the civilian and military prisons to the press. From August 18 to
September 1, 1987, Turkish journalists had the possibility of entering
in eight prisons and of interviewing political prisoners.
The findings of the journalists
appeared day by day in newspapers are, in one word, frightful and
The daily Cumhuriyet of September
9, 1987, resumed the findings of its reporters as follows:
MEALS: The food given to
prisoners are very far from being nutritive. Meals prepared with butter
of the worst quality were disgusting.The Justice Ministry attributes
only 375 Turkish Liras (O.35 Dollar) for the daily consumption of a
prisoner while it should be 1,000 TL at the least.
CLEANING: Prisoners are allowed
to have shower only once in fifteen days. In many prisons inmates can
use only cold water even in winter time. They have to wash their dishes
and linens too with cold water. In the prisons of south-eastern Turkey,
inmates do not have the possibility of getting shower even with cold
water. For this reason, they are very often subjected to epidemic
AIRING: It is a real luxury in
prisons. They are not allowed to recreation in the prison yard.
Deprived of the possibility of walking, many prisoners are suffering
VISITS: All prisoners are
complaining of the restriction of their families' visits. Even during
these limited visits, they cannot easily communicate with their parents
due to the fact that the separation between the prisoner and his
visitor make impossible to hear each other.
READING: Prisoners are deprived
of the right to read even the books or periodicals which have never
been the subject of any interdiction. While certain publications are
allowed by some prisons, they are arbitrarily banned by the others.
TORTURE AND BEATING: All
political detainees have declared that they had been subjected to
systematic torture in prisons between 1980 and 1984. Though many
prisoners have died or been handicapped due to torture, these acts have
been hushed up by the authorities. Since 1984 political prisoners very
often undergo psychological torture and harassment.
REGULATIONS: They were decreed by
the military after the coup d'état and still stay in power. Each prison
administration interprets them differently. For example, listening to
radio is still banned in some prisons while it is free in some others.
PRISON UNIFORM: The prison
regulations oblige all detainees, condemned or simply indicted, to wear
one-type prison uniform. Those who are not yet condemned refuse to wear
this uniform claiming that they should be considered innocent until the
end of their trial. Protesting against this practice, many political
detainees refused to go to trials.
HANDCUFFS AND CHAINS: Especially
the detainees in Istanbul prisons complain of being taken to tribunal
or hospital as being handcuffed and chained.
BAN ON LETTERS: Corresponding by
letter between the inmates of different prisons are strictly banned. As
for the correspondence with parents, it is also subjected to
DISCIPLINARY PUNISHMENT: In the
case of resisting against the above mentioned arbitrary practices,
prisoner is subjected to disciplinary punishment. Mainly, he cannot
benefit from the anticipated release. Prison guardians provoke
incidents with the purpose of exposing the prisoner to disciplinary
SOLITARY CONFINEMENT: In all
prisons, those who are considered "incorrigible" by the direction are
kept for months in solitary confinement. The cells are generally under
the surface of the ground and filthy. Prisoner is subjected to a total
isolation and his health is getting worse and worse in unbearable
All the press reports confirm the
claims of prisoners which were published earlier in Brussels: Two
dreadful documents on Military Jails in Turkey , Solidarity
Publications, June 1987.
ARMY'S SETBACK IN KURDISTAN
All the new repressive measures
taken against the Kurdish armed resistance such as the nomination of a
super-governor for applying the state of emergency proclaimed in eleven
Eastern provinces, the formation of a "extraordinary" army corps and
the augmentation of the effective forces of the police and the
Gendarmerie have turned out to be ineffective in this region.
The ARGK guerilla units, led by
the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK), carry on to give serious blows
to the Army detachments as well as to the villages supporting the
According to the daily Tercüman
of September 24, 1987, since the beginning of this year, Kurdish
guerillas have killed 165 people in total during their raids on
January 21, in Uludere: 8 dead
and 8 wounded,
January 23, in Midyat, 10 dead
and 5 wounded,
February 22, in Uludere, 14 dead
and 9 wounded,
March 14, in Sirnak (Siirt), 8
April 28, in Semdinli (Hakkari),
June 5, in Hozat (Tunceli), 4
dead and 8 wounded,
June 21, in Pinarcik, 30 dead and
July 9, in Hakkari, 29 dead,
August 19, in Eruh (Siirt), 25
August 21, in Dargecit (Mardin),
August 30, in Sirnak (Siirt), 4
dead and 4 wounded,
September 3, in Omerli (Mardin),
September 22, in Sirnak (Siirt),
A FRENCH GUIDE ACCUSED OF SEPARATISM
A French national, Mr. Michel
Caraminot who had been arrested in Sanliurfa for carrying some
touristic material showing some parts of Turkey as Armenia and
Kurdistan, was brought, on August 26, 1987, before the State Security
Court of Diyarbakir.
The public prosecutor requested
for the defendant a prison term up to 12 years for separatist
DEMOLITION OF CHRISTIAN EDIFICES
The weekly 2000'e Dogru of August
9-15, 1987, reports that many Armenian edifices in Turkey are not
protected as historical monuments and all of them are subjected to
natural destrcution or pillaging.
According to the article, Yedi
Kiliseler (The Seven Churches) and the Varak Monastery in the province
of Van, built in the 16th Century as an education center, are now used
Also the Churches of Kacit
and Elmacik have turned out ruins. As for the bridge over the Catak
stream, the Armenian inscriptions on this edifice have been erased on
the order of the Committee for the Protection of Historical Monuments.
The daily Cumhuriyet of May 13,
1987, reports that, in the district of Nusaybin of the Mardin province,
the Assyrian Monastery Meryakup has been abandonned by the local
Christian population who have fled Turkey in last years. Presently, a
Moslem family with nine children live in this edifice.
WARLIKE SCHOOL BOOKS
The daily Milliyet of June 24,
1987, draws attention to the warlike contents of the books distributed
to schools by the National Education Ministry.
One of these books entitled
"Turkish rights in the Aegean Sea" reads: "The principles adopted ten
years ago by Turkey have turned out obstacles rather than developing
ones. Forgetting the principle of 'Be ready to war if you wishes peace
and order' and adopting the principle of 'peace at home, peace in the
world' has been the reason of Turkey's many losses."
On September 6, 1987, the day of
referendum, the Peace Court of Istanbul decided to confiscate
throughout Turkey all copies of three daily newspapers, Hürriyet,
Günaydin and Bulvar, for having published articles and headlines which
may influence voters.
Next day, the State Security
Court of Istanbul issued a warrant for the confiscation of the
monthly review Yeni Cözüm, on grounds that an article entitled
"Political detention and Class struggle" ignores Article 142 of the
Turkish Penal Code.
EIGHT JOURNALISTS INDICTED
Eight members of the editorial
board of the weekly Yanki, Nimet Arzik, Kurtul Altug, Ilhami Soysal,
Turhan Temucin, Argun Berker, Haluk Oncel, Metin Catan and Attila
Bartinlioglu were indicted by the State Security Court of Istanbul, on
September 10, 1987, for having published a detailed article on Iranian
leader Khomeiny's private life.
Accused, according to Article 128
of the Turkish Penal Code, of provoking hostility between Turkey and a
foreign country and retaliation against Turkish citizens, eight
journalists risk prison terms up to 10 year each.
A DUTCH TV PRODUCER DETAINED
Mrs. Nihal Dogan, producer of the
Dutch TV programs for Turkish migrant workers, was detained in Izmir on
July 29, 1987. Political police said that her entrance in Turkey had
been banned by the Interior Ministry.
HEARING AT THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE ON TURKEY
The hearing on trade union rights
in Turkey, organized by the Legal Affairs Committee of the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was held on September
7th, 1987, in Paris.
During the meeting, the committee
members heard the evaluations of the representatives of the Turkish
government, political parties, the Confederation of Turkish Trade
Unions (TURK-IS), the Confederation of Turkish Employers' Unions (TISK)
as well as the Chairman of the banned Confederation of Progressive
Trade Unions (DISK), Mr. Abdullah Bastürk.
Analysing in brief the
anti-democratic provisions of the Turkish labour legislation and the
anti-labour practices of the Government, Mr. Basturk said:
"In spite of the promises made by
the ANAP government to ILO, no serious modifications in the trade union
regulations were made since 1986. Some modifications introduced,
especially by the law number 3299 changing the Article 8 of the Law
Number 2822, were not of any importance in essence.
"On the contrary, the ANAP
government has restricted the trade union freedom further by various
applications. For instance, the 'Regulations about the Measures to be
taken by the local authorities during the Strikes and Lock-outs' issued
on September 4th, 1986 by the Ministry of Internal Affairs has turned
the right to strike completely unpracticable.
"The resolutions dated April 24,
1985 of the Prime Ministry Superior Coordination Committee for the
Economic Affairs about the applications to the contracted personnel is
another example to the actions against the trade union freedom and
"Another significant subject
related to DISK and its affiliate trade unions is that related to their
properties. The military court has shut down DISK and its 28 affiliate
trade unions by its decision taken without any statement of reasons.
Nevertheless, nothing was stated about the properties of DISK and its
affiliates that are still managed by the trustees illegally.
"According to the Article 46 of
the Law No. 2821 ratified by the National Security Council, 'the
properties of the confederations and trade unions are transferred to
"However, the application of this
law to DISK and its affiliate trade unions, whose trial still goes on,
is impossible according to the fundamental principles of law stating
that none of the penalties can be applied to the cases that started
before the introduction of these penalties by law.
"The demands for shut down of
DISK and its affiliates were based, by the military prosecutor, on the
Trade Union Law No. 274 dated 1963.
"The DISK trial has not yet
ended. Including the phase of cassation, it seems that it will take two
or three more years under these circumstances.
"However, even if the dissolution
decision is approved and exacted, the transfer of the properties of
DISK and its affiliate unions to the Treasury will still be impossible
according to the clear order of the law.
"The movable and immovable
properties of DISK and its affiliates can be transferred either to the
higher associations of the trade unions or and if this is impossible,
at least to TURK-IS and its affiliate trade unions, if the dissolution
decision is approved.
"When the current value of the
properties of DISK and its trade unions are calculated, they amount to
approximately TL 350 billion ($ 350 millions.)
"These properties formed by the
dues paid by the workers to their trade unions cannot be exploited by
their real owners, the workers, but managed by the trustees appointed
by the Martial Law commanders against the purposes of their existence
and are ruined.
"Our objections and the demands
of the international associations of trade unions, our confederation
ETUC and ILO are not taken into consideration and the same practice is
held in effect."
After the hearing the Legal
Affairs Committee decided to deal with the subject after the early
elections in Turkey.
ILO'S WARNING TO TURKISH GOVERNMENT
Prior to this meeting, the
International Labour Organization (ILO) changed its tolerating position
as regards the Turkish regime and placed it once again in the box.
As recalled by our readers,
during the International Labour Conference of 1986, the Turkish
Government had deceived this international organization by claiming
that it would modify all anti-democratic labour legislation as soon as
possible. On this promise, Belgian trade union leader Jef Houthuys,
acting as the Vice-president of the Committee for Applying
Recommendations and Conventions, had persuaded the Conference to
postpone to the next year the debate on the situation of human rights
in Turkey. Whereas, the Turkish Government, since then, has put
in practice none of its promises. On the contrary, within last year
DISK leaders were condemned to prison and some protest actions
organized by TURK-IS were prevented by force.
This year, Mr. Houthuys,
admitting that he had been deceived by the Turkish Government, asked
the Committee to interrogate the representatives of the Turkish regime.
Thereupon, alongside other countries where trade union rights are
systematically violated, Turkey was placed on the list of the countries
not applying recommendations and conventions.
After lengthy debates on the
situation in Turkey, on June 16, 1987, the Committee for Applying
Recommendations and Conventions decided to calls on the Turkish
Government to apply immediately its promises, and underlined that, if
the promises are not kept, the ILO would have to recourse in next year
to other means of pressure on Ankara.
DERISORY INCREASE OF MINIMUM WAGES
While the prices of consumption
goods and services are still rocketing, the official commission charged
with establishing minimum wages decided some derisory increases.
According to the decision of June
24, 1987, minimum monthly gross salary will be TL 74,250 ($74.25),
while it was TL 41,400 from 1985 to 1987. After social contributions
and taxes are deducted, an employee can get only TL 49,094 ( $49.09) as
monthly net salary, while it has been TL 28,000 since 1985.
During the debates at the
Commission, trade union representatives asked that the minimum monthly
net salary should be set between TL 100,000 and TL 150,000, arguing
that a family of three would need at least 150,000 TL to lead a life
befitting a human being. In fact, even in the slum areas of Istanbul a
one-room apartment can be rent at TL 40,000 for month. According to a
survey published in the daily Cumhuriyet of September 1st, 1987, a
family of four needs at least TL 136,300 for monthly kitchen
The following table shows a
wage-owner's working duration in order to buy some principal consuming
goods in 198O and 1986:
1 Kg Bread
1 h. & 9 m.
1 h. & 44 m.
1 Kg Meat
17 h. & 11 m. 21 h.
& 9 m.
1 Kg Cheese 12 h. & 26
m. 15 h. & 55 m.
1 Kg Olives 10
h. & 58 m. 18 h. & 14 m.
1 pair of shoes 124 h. & 16 m.
236 h. & 23 m.
The new minimum wage has been
severely criticized by trade unions and the press. However, the
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Mr. Mükerrem Tascioglu,
answered the criticisms with the following argument:
"Minimum salary is for an
employee who just begins to work. This guy has no right to get married
and to have two children. Why do you get married, if you do not have
enough money in your pocket?"
As for the average salaries of
workers, according to the daily Milliyet of July 7, 1987, it is about
TL 195,000 in petro-chemical works, TL 193,000 in metal works, TL
146,000 in food industry and TL 115,000 in textile.
On the other hand, top rank
military or civilian bureaucrats get the following monthly salaries:
For low-level public servants,
monthly salary falls down to TL 72,407.
The daily Milliyet of June 9,
1987, reports that the majority of the 47 persons who were apprehended
while they were begging in the streets of Sivas were either low
salaried public servants or their wives or children. They said that
there was no other means for surviving since a monthly salary of TL
70,000 is not sufficient to cover their minimal expenditures.
One of the most striking
anti-demo-cratic practices of the Turkish regime has been the
deprivation of the opponents of the regime of their Turkish
citizenship. Though the number of the public figures who have been
deprived of citizenship for political reasons is about 200, those who
refuse to do their military service too have been the target of this
repressive measure. So, the number of all those who have lost their
citizenship in this way rose to 13.788 in 1987.
On the occasion of Premier Ozal's
visit to West Berlin on September 23, 1987, a group of the victims of
this anti-democratic practice held a press conference, attended also by
the representatives of the Human Rights League and the Alternative List
of West Berlin.
During Ozal's stay in West
Berlin, the Presidency of the West Berlin City Assembly gave a
reception in honour of those exiled Turkish and Kurdish opponents of
the Ozal's regime.
We reproduce the full text of the
press communiqué signed by 43 political exiles on the 3rd page.
DECLARATION OF POLITICAL EXILES ON THEIR DEPRIVATION OF TURKISH
"Since the September 12,
1980 military coup 13.788 people have been deprived of their
citizenship. Under all the decrees concerning this practice appears the
signature of Turgut Ozal, first as Vice-Premier and later on as Prime
"Article 15 of the Universal
Declaration on Human Rights adopted by the United Nations provides for
that everybody shall have the right to citizenship and nobody can be
deprived arbitrarily of his citizenship. Turkey is one of the
signatories of this declaration.
"However, the undeniable right to
citizenship obtained by birth has been, since the September 12, 1980
military coup, one of the most violated fundamental rights in Turkey.
"We, who adopt the attachment to
democracy and human rights as a fundamental principle, have been
accused, while our right to citizenship was being violated, of "acting
abroad against Turkey." Those who consider themselves and the
anti-democratic regime that they established identical with Turkey have
supposed that they could make us inefficacious in the opposition that
we lead abroad against the regime of September 12. To such an extent
that they, without having any proof in their hands, have deprived of
their nationality those who could not be apprehended by police by
claiming that they had fled the country. So, the practice of depriving
of citizenship has been employed as a means of punishing and making
inefficacious the opponents.
"Prime Minister Ozal tries to
give the impression that everything works in conformity with democratic
norms and tribunals function independently and lawfully by respecting
to the principle of "natural judge". Whereas, the real situation
contradicts this claim. We believe that the following examples which
instantly occur to mind are sufficient to vindicate our view:
" - Though seven years have
passed since the coup of , the trials against the Confederation of
Progressive Trade Unions (DISK), the Peace Association and many
political and democratic mass organizations are still going on at
" - The bans on all political
parties which had been efficient in Turkish politics prior to September
12, 1980, are still in force.
" - Though martial law has been
lifted, martial law tribunals are still functioning. Furthermore,
special courts have been set up under the name of "state security
courts" without taking heed of the principle of "natural judge."
" - Articles 140, 141 and 142 of
the Turkish Penal Code, unique in the world, have been aggravated and
are still being applied. The present government carries out
preparations with a view to aggravating again these articles.
" - In last seven years 27 people
have been executed for political reasons and 525 others condemned to
death. The sentences of 136 condemned have been subjected to the
approval of the Parliament.
" - As it has been made public
thanks to the hunger-strikes, prisons are still full of thousands of
politically detained and condemned people. They are subjected to
pressures and tortures incompatible with human dignity. It has been
admitted by a governmental declaration that 1,244 people had died in
prisons since the September 12 Coup. According to the findings of the
Association of Human Rights (IHD), the number of those prisoners who
were tortured to death rose to 149.
" - The repression and massacres
carried out on the Kurdish people of more than ten millions have been
made more systematical with the adoption of the 1982 Constitution.
Today, the Turkish Kurdistan inhabited by Kurds is ruled by the
governors provided with extraordinary powers and many Kurdish villages
are subjected to massacre and deportation.
" - In Turkey, 1,683,000 people
have been labelled and kept under a permanent surveillance. 300
thousands of them are banned to travel abroad.
" - In addition to the 13,788
people already deprived of Turkish citizenship, 26 thousands more have
been summoned to return to the country with the same menace.
" - The Turkish consulates abroad
continue the practice of seizing passports of Turkish citizens for
their political opinions or acts.
" - According to the information
coming from the authorities, thousands of book, reviews and newspapers
have been destroyed since September 12, 1980. In the course of the last
period of three years and a half during which Turgut Ozal has been
prime minister, 240 different publications have been the object of
confiscation decisions and the authors, translators or publishers of
these publications have been indicted. The practice of interdiction,
confiscation and censorship on publications is still being carried on.
Many publications appeared in Europe too are the object of interdiction.
"It is not our personal salvation
that we are looking for, but the right to citizenship which is our most
fundamental right. We do not accept any bargaining to be imposed in
exchange for the restitution of this right. Our problem is not a
personal one, it is an integral part of the question of establishing in
Turkey a democratic regime based on human rights.
" - The annulment of all laws
which, in contradiction with the European Convention on Human Rights,
suppress the freedoms of opinion and conscience,
" - And, parallel with this, the
release of all political prisoners are the minimal prerequisites of
being able to talk of the existence of a democratic regime in Turkey.
"The restitution of our lifted
right to citizenship must be considered within this context.
"We have never lost our
conviction that a democratic regime respecting human rights will be
established one day in Turkey and that we shall carry on our life and
work in our country. Once more we confirm here our this conviction."
Behice Boran (Chairwoman of t TIP),
Kemal Burkay (Secretary General of TKSP),
Sümeyra Cakir (musician),
Melike Demirag (musician),
Sanar Yurdatapan (musician, composer),
Nihat Behramoglu (poet),
Inci Tugsavul (journalist)*,
Dogan Özgüden (journalist-writer)*,
Umran Baran (journalist),
M. Melih Baran (journalist),
Yücel Feyzioglu (writer),
Fuat Saka (musician),
Hüseyin Erdem (writer),
Gültekin Gazioglu (Chairman of TOB-DER),
Kemal Daysal (Member of the DISK Executive )
Mehmet Karaca (Chairman of MADEN-IS),
Metin Denizmen (Chairman of BANK-SEN),
Turan Ata (Member of DISK Administrative Board )
Murat Tokmak (Member of DISK dministrative Board)
Yasar Arikan (Member of DISK Administrative Board )
Ekrem Aydin ( Member of DISK Administrative Board)
Bahtiyar Erkul ( Vice-Chairman of MADEN-IS),
Yücel Cubukcu (Secretary General of BANK-SEN),
Ismail Coban (painter),
Recep Orduseven (Vice-Chairman of BANK-SEN),
Ilhan Geçit (Vice-Chairman of BANK-SEN),
Halit Erdem (Secretary General of MADEN-IS),
Zeki Kilic (Vice-Chairman of SOSYAL-IS),
Aydin Yesilyurt (Regional Representative of DISK),
A. Taner Serin (Regional Representative of DISK),
Beria Onger (Chairwoman of IKD),
Zülal Kilic (Secretary General of IKD),
Serafettin Kaya ( lawyer),
A. Muhtar Sökücü (Chairman of IGD),
Ergin Erkiner (editor),
Aydin Ucar (Chairman of the Kurdish People's House),
Sertac Bucak (engineer),
M. Ali Akyigit (Regional representative of BANK-SEN),
Haydar Isik (teacher),
Askin Baran (journalist),
Mahmut Baksi (writer),
Durdu Gevher (teacher),
Ihsan Aksoy (writer).
*) Ozgüden and Tugsavul are editors of Info-Türk.
A MAGAZINE CONFISCATED FOR PUBLISHING ATATURK'S WORDS ON THE KURDISH
The pressure on the publications
of opposition has attained to an unimaginable level with the
confiscation of the weekly magazine 2000'e Dogru for having published
Atatürk's words on the Kurdish Question. The fact that even the words
of the founder of the Republic of Turkey can be censored has given rise
to a big reaction in Turkey as well as abroad.
On January 16, 1923, just after
the victory of the National Liberation War, Mustafa Kemal (later on
named Atatürk, father of Turks), held a press conference in Izmir and
"Our new constitution provides
that a kind of autonomous local administrations will be set up. So, if
the population of a province is Kurdish, they will have
self-government. Besides, when we talk of the people of Turkey, we
should mention them (Kurds) as well. If it is not done, they (Kurds)
may create some problems for this reason. In present, the Grand
National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) is composed of both Kurdish and
Though appeared in the newspapers
of January 16 and 17, 1923, this declaration of Atatürk has never been
reprinted, even in the academic works edited by the Turkish History
Institution (TTK), for 64 years.
The left-wing 2000'e Dogru has,
thanks to an insistent work, found the minutes of this important
interview written in arabic letters and put them in the August
30-September 5, 1987, issue.
However, the public prosecutor,
apparently informed beforehand, immediately reacted and order the
police to confiscate all copies in printing house. Two days after the
confiscation, the State Security Court of Istanbul issued a warrant for
the confiscation of the magazine.
In addition to the material
losses of the magazine, its responsible editor, Mrs. Fatma Yazici risks
a heavy prison term by virtue of Articles 142/3 and 312/2 of the
Turkish Penal Code, borrowed from the Penal Code of Mussolini.
The confiscation of a periodical
even in printing house before distribution has been made possible with
the modification of the Turkish Press Code in 1983.
On the application of this
censorship even on Atatürk's own words, editors and renowned writers of
Turkey's main newspapers and news agencies such as Sabah, Bulvar,
Zaman, Tercüman, Cumhuriyet, Günes, Milliyet, Dünya, Yeni Gündem,
Nokta, Söz, UBA, ANKA as well as the journalist associations have
issued a joint communiqué protesting against this practice and asking
for modification of the Turkish Press Code.